Page:Artabanzanus (Ferrar, 1896).djvu/12
THE DEMON OF THE GREAT LAKE
for a considerable time. At length he suffered us to resume our seats, although it was not possible for us to withdraw our eyes from his face. Suddenly thrusting his hand into a capacious pocket, he drew from its recesses a parcel of moderate size, which he proceeded slowly to untie. We were filled with curiosity, not unmingled with an undefined expectation of seeing something wonderful; but when we saw him draw forth first a beautiful gold watch and chain and hold it up, saying, 'This is for a good girl, named Bertha,' and then another, with the words, 'And this is for a good boy, named Willie,' our delight and gratitude knew no bounds.
Our great-grandfather told us, in the course of remarks made almost at random, that he had been a great traveller, but he would not trouble us with his travels at present. He had come, he said, unexpectedly, and without announcing his approach—because his whole life had been a series of extraordinary surprises—to lay his bones beside those of his ancestors. His grandson, our father, had kindly given him permission to spend his last years, or days, as the case might be by his fireside; and our good mother did not object. In all probability he would not trouble us long; but be the time long or short, he would throw himself on the generosity of his young descendants, and ask for their guidance and protection.He lived with us for about two years in comparatively good health, showing only now and then the bodily weakness incidental to his great age. His mental faculties did not seem to fail him in the least, and his mind was at perfect peace. Occasionally he was overheard talking aloud when he thought himself to be alone, as if holding an animated conversation with an invisible individual, whom he called Dr. Junius or Julius. Either my sister or myself always accompanied him in his frequent strolls along the lovely